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Full text of "Verdict On India"

SO                                          VERDICT OX INDIA

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valley, the dust of camels and caravans moving in a long procession.

'Look down there,' he said. 'There's wealth for you—bags of
it, waiting to be seized in a single raid. In those caravans there'll
be silks from Bokhara and Turkoman carpets and plenty of
precious metal for the goldsmiths of Peshawar. There'll be men
and women from every corner of Asia, from the border of China
to Samarcand, Merv and Herat—Tajiks, Kabulis, Kisilbashes and
Ghilzais, mixed up with Jews and Afridis and Uzbergs coming from
Mecca/

'And now look round you,' he continued. 'What is there up
here? Rocks and dust and thorn and scrub. No water. A
handful of goats. And a hole in the rock for your home. Can
you wonder that when they see a target like that the temptation's
too much for a band of hungry men ? *

* But you said that things were a bit better ?'

'They are. Wages are higher, there's a better market for
firewood, which is one of the few things they can sell in these
parts. But it isn't only a question of simple economics ; nothing
ever is simple in India. It's a question of personality !

* Whose?'

'Sir George Cunningham, for one. He's the Governor—and he
;. .well, he's 'tops,* He gots everywhere, knows everyone, speaks
several dialects perfectly, is completely fearless, never bothers
about being shot at and has a rollicking sense of humour. But
then, of course, you know all that. There are other people you
ought to meet. For instance the Wali of Swat/

4 The one that Lear wrote a nonsense rhyme about ? So he really
does exist! What's he like ?'

* Wby not go and see ? *
I went and saw.

* That's where Gunga-Din used to do his act/
It was two days later and we were on our way through the Swat
Valley. To me it all seemed very wild and strange, partly because
I had been so often obliged to look at its upside down. By now I